Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A child friendly welcome for Kiwis in Leeds

From left to right:  Jesse Bromwich, Simon Mannering, Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, Cllr Judith Blake, Thomas Leuluai with two Leeds school children
Kiwi captain Simon Mannering with children from Woodlesford Primary School and Cllr Judith Blake

Over 800 Leeds school children gave a warm Yorkshire welcome to the New Zealand rugby league world cup squad at a special event at the John Charles Centre for Sport yesterday (12 November).

Pupils from 52 of the city’s schools were invited to meet the reigning rugby league world champions, including Sonny Bill Williams, who is arguably the best RL player in the world. The Kiwis have been in Leeds since 4 November and are busy preparing for their crucial Quarter Final game against Scotland this Friday following their win at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on 8 November against Papua New Guinea.

The squad took time out of their hectic training schedule to meet the youngsters, who brought along specially created banners to help create a really colourful and bright occasion. The players spent time chatting to the children, signed lots of autographs and posed for photographs.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for leisure and skills said:
“Leeds has been buzzing with excitement in the lead-up to the RLWC2013 games in Leeds, and we are immensely proud that the Kiwis have been staying and training in our city.

“This event for over 800 of our children and young people really was a once in a lifetime opportunity for them, and one that they will never forget. It was fantastic to see the players take time out of their hectic training schedule to engage with the youngsters in such good spirit.

“I know that the Kiwis will get plenty of support at Headingley this Friday night, when they take on Scotland in the first quarter-final game of the tournament. There was a record turnout for the game last Friday, and as this is the last chance to catch a RLWC2013 game in Yorkshire, it would be fantastic to see another large crowd this week to show the world why Leeds is the UK’s best city for rugby league.”

Councillor Judith Blake, deputy leader and executive member for children’s services said:
“We have been delighted with the fantastic opportunities that being a host city for RLWC2013 have afforded children and young people in the city, and I’m sure that the New Zealand team will have been thrilled with the welcome they received today.

“Once again, lots of our children will be on the pitch at Headingley this Friday night playing their part in a memorable sporting occasion. Taking to the pitch in front of thousands of fans will be something these lucky young people will never forget.”

Tickets for Scotland v New Zealand on Friday night are available now from or by calling the 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.

You can also buy them from the ticket office at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and the Leeds Visitor Centre at Leeds Railway Station, the opening hours of which are Monday 10am - 5.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday 9am - 5.30pm, Sunday 10am - 4pm. For more information please visit the website, email, or telephone 0113 242 5242.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (07712) 214223

Businesses urged to sign up and be Safe Places

Businesses in Leeds are being asked to help make sure people with learning disabilities have a safe place to go anywhere in the city.

Leeds City Council’s Safe Places project was launched just over a year ago with the aim of helping adults with learning disabilities cope with any distressing incidents when they are out and about in their communities.

Places that sign up for the scheme are fully trained up by people who have learning disabilities themselves.
Once that training is over, the venues are given a Safe Places sticker to display in their window, letting those with learning disabilities know they can go inside for support if and when they need it.

A string of council-managed buildings, including all of the city’s libraries, sports centres and museums, have already signed up to the free scheme, with more than 100 venues now taking part.

Organisers now want more private sector venues to come forward and help make the city as safe as possible for some of its vulnerable residents.

Carol Benson, Leeds City Council’s Safe Places co-ordinator, said: “More than 200 people have already signed up to be members of the scheme.

“People with a learning disability tell me they feel safer now because they know there are places they can go if they need help whilst out and about in Leeds.”

Adults who join Safe Places receive a distinctive wristband and an emergency contact card.
The card has space for them to write down details of up to three of their emergency contacts, who staff at participating venues will get in touch with when they are approached for help.

More than 200 people in Leeds with learning disabilities are currently taking part.

Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Adult Social Care said: “The Safe Places scheme has been operating since last summer now and in that time, it’s been encouraging to see the growing number of places around the city that have become designated places where adults with learning disabilities can go if they get lost, are being harassed or become distressed for any reason.

“It’s important that people with learning disabilities feel able to live their lives as independently as they possibly can.

“But, to enable them to do that, it’s equally important that they also know they have a safe place to turn to if something happens that they might find difficult or distressing.

“I would urge as many businesses as possible to sign up for the Safe Places scheme and help to make Leeds a city where every resident feels safe.”

The Leeds Safe Places Scheme is led by Leeds City Council Adult Social Care in partnership with West Yorkshire Police and Leeds and York NHS Partnership Foundation Trust.

Safe Places schemes are being launched up and down the country, with the aim of creating a network for vulnerable people.

The first Safe Place in Leeds was launched at the city bus station in June 2012.

Businesses interested in taking part in the scheme should e-mail: telephone 0113 378 1919 or write to Leeds City Council Learning Disability Community Support Service, Roseville Skills Building
65 Roundhay Road Leeds LS7 3BQ.


For more details, contact:

Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937